It was nice over the last weekend to see photos of East Bay Athletic League athletes competing against each other -- and doing so locally!
Cross-country, golf, tennis and swimming have all been practicing, with some already involved in competitions.
It had been getting old to see social media posts of athletes from around the state heading out of California to play in tournaments with their club teams.
For now -- EBAL teams are starting to compete again!
"It's been awesome," Amador Valley cross-country coach Jason Oswalt said. "It's been exactly what you thought it would be like when the kids were able to compete again."
One advantage with the sports that have officially begun is that those sports all have afforded the athletes opportunity to train when their respective sports were suspended.
Golf courses have been open for some time now and the elite players have been traveling to tournaments regularly.
The same could be said for tennis players. In terms of cross-country, it has always been OK to go for a run, with most of your top runners already following a training program.
"Some of our kids have been training, some not so much," Oswalt said with a laugh.
The Dons have about 40 runners out this season, down from the normal number of approximately 70.
"It was a quick turnaround for kids to get their physicals," Oswalt said, citing as one thing that affected the program's numbers. "There were probably others that didn't come out because of all that has gone on."
As excited as Oswalt was to talk about having the kids back out again, he was also eager to make sure the word was out how everyone is following the protocols.
"We are trying to make it public that we are doing this and it's working," Oswalt said.
Last Saturday, the Dons hosted Monte Vista. The race was run on a new course at Amador as permits to use Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area -- the Dons' usual home course -- were not able to be attained.
The two teams entered the starting area by the football field through separate gates, wearing masks, with each team separated by six feet.
"We even had an extra command letting the runners know they could take off their masks," Oswalt said. "But they had to carry them with them and put them back on after they crossed the finish line."
The chute where the teams started allowed for the teams to be separated for the first 300 meters. By the time teams made it that far, the runners are strung out enough to allow for safe co-mingling.
The remainder of the schedule for all the EBAL cross-country slate is a work in progress as it has yet to be determined if there will be a league meet. If not, expect to see two- to four-team meets until the season ends on March 20.
The important -- the kids are out there competing.
"It was great to have the kids put on the jerseys and compete," Oswalt added.
On the day, Monte Vista won the boys race 20-39, but Amador senior Euan Houston took the 2-mile race with a time of 10:11, which of course was also a course record by default.
The Mustangs also took the girls race 18-44. Amador's top runner was Taya Small who covered the course in 12:32 to finish fourth.
Wooldridge to Louisiana-Lafayette
Former Foothill quarterback Ben Wooldridge, who spent two seasons at Fresno State before entering the transfer portal last year, has landed at a new home with the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
As I wrote about before in this space, Wooldridge opted to transfer from Fresno State after losing out in a competition for the quarterback spot with former Monte Vista QB Jake Haener.
It was a competition where many gave the edge to Wooldridge, adding to the level of frustration.
Now it's on to the Ragin' Cajuns and the Sun Belt Conference.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his "Pleasanton Preps" column, email [email protected]